Can the Young Paint a Brighter Financial Future for Their Families?

Inkedphoto-1504257365157-1496a50d48f2_LI

Hazel loved her father dearly, but he was clearly not her role model, at least not in terms of handling money. Teddy ran a restaurant which did fairly well during the tourist season. However, during the off-season, he could barely meet his running costs.

Even a young Hazel could figure out that if one has a seasonal business, s/he must save the money for the lean months; but her father loved to splurge most of the money he earned during the season. Teddy spent a great deal of money on gadgets and bikes and cars, never learning from his mistakes.

While her father ensured that Hazel live comfortably and goes to a good school, she despised the months when money used to be scarce. For a person who loved to spend impulsively, Teddy would easily come undone when the cash-in-hand would be low, and would be irritable and ill-tempered most times, causing the household peace to ebb away.

An intelligent girl, Hazel learnt at a young age that better management of money is directly related to a family’s happiness. Opposed to her father, she never shopped anything on an impulse, and would always buy things that she needed and not wanted.

Whenever her father gave her some money to buy dresses and toys and treats, Hazel would put it in her piggy bank to be retrieved when she really needed it. Her habit of saving made her mother, Edra, happy, who worked hard at the family restaurant and resented Teddy’s extravagant nature.

Hazel dared to dream of a financially independent future. She wanted to create significant wealth for herself and her little family.

‘How would it be to know that millions of rupees are safely invested in my name – what self-assurance would it give to me?’ she often wondered.

While in senior college, Hazel got the opportunity to attend a financial literacy program conducted by a leading financial expert at her college. She immediately enrolled for the free program.

During his speech, the financial expert discussed how investing in mutual funds through SIPs can generate massive wealth over a decade. He said that rich or poor, anyone can create wealth by embracing financial discipline.

The program changed Hazel’s world. She met the expert after the event and anxiously asked him how can she take sure steps towards creating wealth when she grew up.

The expert told Hazel that she mustn’t wait to start earning to start building wealth. “It would be too late,” he said, “Start investing regularly from the allowances you are getting from your parents. Did you know that you can start with an investment as low as Rs 500 per month in mutual funds SIPs?”

Hazel hadn’t had the slightest clue.

In the next few days, Hazel obtained a free consultation with the financial expert and told her household story to him. After listening to her patiently, the expert, with inputs from Hazel, helped her set future financial goals which included her higher education, a small car and her wedding. He then showed her how much wealth she can accumulate if she invested in SIPs (of varying denominations) for the next 10 to 15 years. The possible returns showed by the expert seemed incredulous to Hazel, but the expert explained to her that the compounding factor in mutual funds makes it possible for the portfolio to keep growing in leaps and bounds.

Hazel started investing Rs 1,000 each month in a good equity plan suggested by the financial expert. As she finished her college and started to work at a local pharma company, she quadrupled her SIPs to Rs 4,000 a month. In just half a decade, Hazel’s portfolio started to show a robust growth each month. Seeing his daughter moving with long strides on the path of wealth creation, Teddy, too, decided to have a session with the financial expert, and, started investing regularly through SIPs.

Hazel, Edra and Teddy’s house is now happy all around the year, tourist season or not, the smiles and feeling of contentment shine from their home.

A little girl changed the fortune of a family. Can you?

Dr. Celso is a leading financial advisor in Goa. He is the author of five much-loved books and, together with his organization, Nave Marg Financial Consultants, a crusader for financial literacy among the people of Goa. He shares his time, knowledge and insights free of charge and can be reached at +91 9422058741.

 

Advertisements

Have A Date with Future?

photo-1517981834318-5f56734fe518

Thousands of years ago, life was simple. People traded goods and services in lieu of goods and services in, what we now call it, a barter system. The complexities of fair value of goods and services exchanged, however, were difficult to ascertain. That’s when an ingenious woman somewhere in the ancient world coined the concept of money – pun intended.

MONEY

Now, money had the power to put a value on products and services. From manual labour to farm produce to furniture, everything could be bought or sold for a certain value. While the monetary system allowed for a fair distribution of resources and services, it also created an ever-widening gap between the rich and the poor.

Even today, while the poor work hard to become richer, the rich are continuing to amass wealth by making their money work hard for them. Do you see the irony here? Frankly, there isn’t any! Read Daisy and Amanda’s story to know why.

***

Daisy and Amanda were schoolmates. Daisy hailed from a humble background while Amanda’s parents were from a rich and prosperous family. With the same education and almost similar career prospects, Daisy ended up toiling hard for a decade. Meanwhile, she married and had two beautiful children. Although Daisy earned a decent salary, she believed in enjoying the good things in life when she could afford them. However, her extravagant lifestyle resulted in lack of adequate savings to fall back on.

Her troubles started when the downsizing in her company forced her to look for jobs elsewhere; this is when she stumbled in Amanda’s office – who was now the owner of a prosperous mid-sized company.

“Daisy, I am so glad to see you,” Amanda got up from her chair to hug Daisy, her old friend from school.

“Wow, this is amazing,” exclaimed Daisy. She was surprised, and a little embarrassed, though happy to see her friend, too. “I am glad to see you too, Amanda. I was always sure of your success!”

“Thanks, Daisy. I believe you’d like to join us as a fashion designer. I saw your resume and noticed you have a decade of experience. Then, why this job, Daisy? Of course, I’d be glad to have you on board, but don’t you think it’s time you started something of your own?”

“I wish, Amanda, but, unlike you, I was born in a middle-class family. Where would I find the money to start my own business. Isn’t that the bitter truth of life? Money attracts more money!”

“Daisy, I am sorry to hear this from you. Though, I agree with you that my family has been instrumental in my success. However, contrary to what you think, my family did not fund my dreams; they did, however, taught me how to value money and use it to earn more to finance my dreams.”

“I am sorry, Amanda, I don’t quite understand.”

“Let me share my story with you. I hope you remember that we both started working in similar positions with similar pay-outs almost a decade ago. Even at that time, I wasn’t keen to work for someone but wanted to have my own startup. So, six months into the job, I walked up to my father and asked him for money to set up my business. I had the idea, he had the capital – it was perfect.

“Yet, to my surprise, my father turned down my proposal. I was upset with him and didn’t speak to him for days. Finally, a fortnight later, he came to meet me at my workplace and asked me to join him at lunch. Then he told me the reason why he had refused to fund me…because he wanted to make me financially independent. I was furious – how could he expect me to amass a large sum of money in a short span of a few years. But he had a solution for that, too.

“Fortunately for me, my father apprised me of two financial truths that I will remember for my life. First, he asked me to differentiate between needs and wants. Because, if I spend on what I want, I may not have enough left for what I need. In short, if I reduced my frivolous expenditure on movies, coffee, eating out, etc., I could save a large amount of money.

“Second, he asked me to stop working for money!”

“What are you talking, Amanda?”

“Yes, my dad asked me to stop working for money, but instead, focus on making my money work for me. He gave me the secret to grow my own money plant – one that would pay for all my dreams and replenish on its own, year after year.”

“Amanda, are you making fun of me?”

“No, Daisy. Hear me out. Do you know about SIPs or mutual funds?”

“Yes, I have heard about it.”

“Well, so put that knowledge to use, Daisy. Did you know that investing as low as INR 500 in mutual funds through an SIP can lead to a corpus of lakhs of rupees in a few years? That’s what I did! I invested before I spent. Every month, I invested half of my salary into mutual funds through various SIPs on the advice of my father’s financial mentor. I saved before I spent so that I never had the urge to overspend! It was difficult at the beginning – but I used my free time to build my business plan, while our friends, including you, watched movies, travelled, and enjoyed their life!

“I never knew all of this…Amanda.”

“Yes, and seven years down the line, I could see my corpus growing. I withdrew 25 per cent of the amount to fund this company, and, backed by a solid business plan, soon got funding to scale my business gradually. Of course, for two years, I could not put any money in my portfolio but I was pleasantly surprised to see it grow despite no contributions from my side!”

“But how?”

“The simple magic of compounding and market-returns! Daisy, it isn’t too late for you, too. I would be glad to hire you, but promise me that you’d not be a slave to money! Start investing today to fund your dreams tomorrow!”

“Thanks, Amanda. I am so grateful to you! Could I please meet your financial advisor to get my finances on track?”

“Of course, I’d fix a meeting for you tomorrow! Remember Daisy, it’s not about being rich or poor – it’s about investing your money wisely to grow your wealth. Anybody can be rich!”

 

Today, five years down the line, Daisy continues to work with Amanda but she invests 25 per cent of her salary into mutual funds as does her husband. She has also resolved to inculcate financial discipline in her kids right from the start.

Daisy hopes to be a millionaire by the time she completes ten years of working at Amanda’s office. And, looking at her portfolio, her dream looks quite achievable.

Financial discipline, coupled with the habit of investing from a young age, can help you build significant wealth in a relatively short period.

Dr. Celso Fernandes, renowned financial mentor, speaker and author, is committed to eradicate financial illiteracy, ‘a source of most troubles in a person’s life’, in his words. He works diligently along with his team at Nave Marg to spread financial awareness among the youth of Goa. Through his unique initiative, the Super Young Achievers Club, Dr. Celso is already mentoring several young students in making small (as low as Rs 500/month) yet regular investments – most of them already on the road to become millionaires much before they turn 30 years of age.

“The Super Young Achievers Conclave, a mega-event dedicated to educating young students on the tenets of financial discipline, and a starting point for several students to commence their journey towards financial independence, is slated to be held on the 14th of November, 2018. To know more, call 9422058741.”

Young and Determined to Attain Financial Nirvana?

Your Chance to be Among the Super Young Achievers of Goa

photo-1534385675048-b283e5848418

From the moment we become a parent, we worry about our child’s future. From ensuring that the kid goes to the best kindergarten to running from pillar to post in search of the ideal school to endless career counselling sessions, wondering whether to guide her towards medical sciences or accounting, sculpting a glorious future for our children is the most important task in our life.

What every parent essentially wants is that their children gain financial independence in their adulthood, and live prosperously – a good education is one of the ways to ensure it.

But have you ever wondered that investing a fortune in your child’s higher education or providing capital for her startup may not be the only recourse to ensure a financially secured future for them?

Yes, besides supporting your child in attaining a good education, you can ensure their future financial independence by introducing them to the tenets of financial discipline.

We are teaching our children ways to earn money, but not how to manage it.

Take, for example, Nathan’s case, who did his postgraduate course in computers from a leading foreign university and secured a high-paying job. His parents were relieved on the account of his career and financial situation. However, Nathan failed to manage his finances well. Although from a middle-class background, he soon developed a taste for finer things in life. Nathan’s extravagant lifestyle cost him much more than his handsome salary, and he courted debt very early in life. His parents eventually bailed him out of his misery, but it cost them all their retirement fund.

The truth is that like Nathan, most children are not taught how to spend their money judiciously, or the habit of saving and investing regularly.

As working adults, we all know how important it is to manage our finances responsibly; and there would be hardly anyone around who would not have suffered a financial crisis at least once in their life. We all have learnt the hard way. After all, no school or college taught us how to live a financially disciplined life!

But the times are changing. With the right guidance at the right age, the youth is making a remarkable contribution in building a stellar future for themselves by embracing financial literacy at an early age.

Poorvi, for example, started investing when she was 15. Four years later, in her first year in college, she already has a portfolio that is growing at a compounded rate of over 12%, and by the time she turns 25, her portfolio will touch a million rupees.

So, what different happened in Poorvi’s life?

Well, the first turning point in her life was meeting Dr. Celso Fernandes, a leading financial advisor, who works relentlessly towards spreading financial awareness among the youth of Goa, when he was giving a speech on financial literacy in Poorvi’s college.

She was thrilled to learn that she can save and invest as low as Rs 500 from her pocket-money each month and invest in mutual funds – a financial instrument that helps small investors invest in the consistently growing Indian stock market – where she could earn double-digit growth rate and the benefits of compounding if she remained invested for over ten years.

Poorvi loved the idea of being financially independent by the time she would be out of college.

‘No pressure to choose a specific course just to get a job to get by, and I won’t be a liability to my parents, too!’ Poorvi wondered happily.

After the speech, she met the financial advisor and expressed her desire to know more. Next, when she met him at his office along with her parents, she learned about the Super Young Achievers Club. Poorvi couldn’t believe that more than 100 other teenagers in Goa have already taken a pledge to become millionaires before they turn 25 years of age.

As Poorvi marched on to her journey towards financial independence, her parents supported her zealously. And although it was a bit difficult for her to curb her expenses and invest Rs 500 each month, she soon learned to differentiate between needs and wants.

Without even realising, Poorvi became financially disciplined. Also, as she took the responsibility of arranging her monthly investments through SIPs (Systematic Investment Plans), she became inspired to achieve the million-rupee mark much before the age of 25. To accomplish this, Poorvi religiously added to her portfolio any extra money she got from her family as a gift on birthdays and festivals.

Today, Poorvi is happy to see her portfolio grow. In spite of the market volatility, it is performing quite well, and there is little doubt that she would achieve the million mark by the time she turns 23, which means that a whole vista of opportunities would be there in front of her. She could choose to be a travelling artist or prepare for IAS or Civil Services, without being an expense to her family. She could borrow little from her portfolio now and then and it would grow back in due course, even if Poorvi stops investing – which she is certain she won’t.

Like Poorvi, many other Goan students stand a chance to join the Super Young Achievers Club and march on the road to financial independence.

With a view to spreading financial awareness amongst the youth of Goa on a large scale, Dr. Celso Fernandes and Nave Marg are organising the second edition of the Super Young Achievers Conclave on 14th November, 2018. At the conclave, eminent speakers and members of the society would help the participants to understand how to become financially independent by embracing financial literacy. More information can be availed by calling 91-9422058741.

Such opportunities are rare to come by and must not be missed.

Why Does the Slow and Steady Win the Race?

photo-1517245480009-64056ebabb49

The buzzer rang loudly, announcing the end of the classes for the day. The students stormed out of the classroom with high-pitched chatter and squeals, in a fashion that resembled the freeing of a thousand birds at the same time.

But Allisha kept sitting, staring hard at nothing, her mind in a turmoil. She darted a glance at Muriel, her friend and partner in crime, who was preparing to leave the classroom. Allisha, felt a pang of jealousy as she saw the happy smile on Muriel’s face. It fuelled her anguish.

The reason for Allisha’s sullen mood was her inability to register for an exchange program to a top university in France. It was an expensive program, but she was sure that her father would fund it, just the way he paid for all her expensive indulgences. However, he expressed his inability to pay for the costly program as he was experiencing some financial trouble in his business.

Allisha hated the idea of missing out on all the fun she had planned for her French trip. However, what added to her irritation was the fact that Muriel, who hails from a family with limited financial means, signed up for the program.

Allisha came from a well-off family. Her father was a successful businessman, and their family led a plush lifestyle. Muriel, on the other hand, had a modest lifestyle. Her father owned a little grocery store, behind which stood her old mud house. It was nobody’s guess that Muriel’s family managed just a little better than merely surviving.

Yet, Muriel never felt at unease owing to her financial background. She was confident, intelligent and full of life. A calm certainty of wellbeing sparkled in her eyes.

“Muriel, I need to talk to you,” said Allisha as her friend reached the classroom door.

Allisha tried to circumnavigate the topic, but couldn’t restrain herself from blurting out the thoughts that were troubling her.

“How can you … I mean … this expensive program?” asked Allisha hesitantly.

“You mean how can I, a poor girl, could afford such an expensive exchange program?” Muriel teased her friend good-naturedly. She could imagine how Allisha felt; in spite of being from a wealthy family, she was unable to pay the hefty program fee, while a girl from a family with a meagre income could.

“Hmm, it’s a long story,” said Muriel, “that starts precisely ten years ago …”

Both the girls sauntered towards the cafeteria, and over a hot cup of tea, Muriel shared her story with Allisha.

“The 2008 market meltdown is a very significant turning point in my family’s life,” began Muriel.

“Oh, the infamous financial crisis in the US that affected all economies around the world? A lot of people lost money,” interjected Allisha.

Muriel nodded to confirm the story but added, “Only those who panicked and sold their investments lost their money. The markets have boomed since then; especially the Indian stock market, that has achieved much higher levels since 2008.”

Muriel recounted how her father met a financial expert at a wedding. A group of people discussed the market meltdown and cursed the stock market. However, one person, who talked facts and figures, reasoned that market volatility is normal and a major market crash is a time to rejoice for serious investors as they can buy good stocks at a low cost.

Muriel’s father was quite impressed by the financial expert’s reasoning and knowledge. He met him after a few days to discuss the possibility of investing in a few shares.

“I remember accompanying my father to the financial expert’s office,” beamed Muriel.

The financial expert asked Muriel’s father about his financial goals and aspirations and chalked out an investment plan.

“He suggested that since my father wanted to invest in my higher education, he must make small, yet regular investments in mutual funds through SIPs (Systematic Investment Plan),” said Muriel to a slightly confused Allisha. She was having a tough time comprehending the story narrated by her friend.

Muriel explained to Allisha that mutual funds are a collection of money belonging to a large number of investors. A qualified financial expert, called Fund Manager, invests this pool of money in various stocks and bonds and other instruments.

“A fund manager is a smart person who keeps a tab on the market and makes educated decisions in response to the fluctuations in the market,” explained Muriel.

She concluded the story by revealing that her father had been investing in mutual funds on her behalf from the past ten years. The initial investments were as low as Rs 500, but he increased the amount gradually with time.

“The expert handling of the Fund Manager and the power of compounding in mutual funds has grown my portfolio significantly,” revealed Muriel.

As both the friends parted to go to their respective homes, Allisha couldn’t help but marvel at the ingenious plan of investing regularly to grow a large corpus. She realized that though her father earned a lot of money, their lifestyle was equally expensive to maintain. The idea of small, consistent savings escaped him entirely. Looking things into a new perspective, it dawned on Allisha that her extravagant lifestyle was a mere imitation of her family’s spendthrift ways. Muriel, on the other hand, spent only on things that she needed and avoided expenses that were borne out of an impulsive desire.

By the time Allisha reached her plush house, she had resolved to change the way she had been living her life. She was now determined to make regular investments out of her generous pocket money, and later, from her salary as she starts working.

A thin smile played on Allisha’s lips as she recalled being jealous of Muriel; her dear friend who taught her the important lesson of being financially independent.

Dr. Celso Fernandes, with his team at Nave Marg Financial Consultants, is working religiously to spread financial awareness towards the youth of the country. Author of five much-loved books, the financial Doctor of Goa, as he is fondly referred to, Dr. Celso believes that financial literacy is the only recourse through which we can build a happier, healthier and prosperous India. Join the Super Young Achievers Club, mentored by Dr. Celso Fernandes, that grooms youngsters to be millionaires before they turn 30 years of age.

Contact: +91-9422058741.

Is the Future of Your Dreams, Here?

photo-1492176273113-2d51f47b23b0

“Just wait for a few years, your bro would zip past by you in a red Ferrari,” Nash excitedly shared his future dream with his friend, Avinash.

“And you would drive down to my sea-facing grand mansion, and you will park your red Ferrari next to my blue Jaguar,” replied Avinash with the same zest.

“Avi, once each of us gets a job, we will go for a Europe trip. I so want to see the Manchester United home ground,” said Nash in a dreamy voice.

“Yes Nash, and we will go to Spain and play Tomatina.”

In their second year of college, the two friends sat in the college canteen and dreamt about a fabulous future. Though uncertain, they were quite sure that their future would be full of riches – after all, they would start earning in a few years.

“O.M.G! You guys are dreaming again, wasting time,” exclaimed Eldrina, as she marched towards her two friends.

“What Eldi, you ruined our daydreaming,” said Nash irritably.

“Yes Eldi, you ARE a buzz kill,” complained Avinash.

“And what are you two lazy bums? Do you really think that you will achieve all your dreams by sitting here, dreaming?” chided Eldrina.

The three of them were close friends since the first year. Avinash and Nash were famous in the college for roaming about aimlessly and making bizarre plans for the future. Eldrina, however, was totally different from her friends. She was a disciplined, focused and pragmatic girl. She believed in working hard and enjoying the rewards of hard work.

“Oh, we will pass the exams, and get a great job, don’t you worry about it,” said Nash nonchalantly.

“Oh yes, we know our future riches depend upon the job. We are not going to screw that up!” Avinash chimed in.

With a long, resigned sigh, Eldrina asked, “Do you guys seriously think that you will get rich once you get a job?”

“Of course!” chorused Avinash and Nash.

“Then, my friends,” said Eldrina with a dramatic pause, “You guys would remain poor all your life.”

Infuriated by the bitter words, both the friends fumed.

“So, you are an astrologer, too,” mocked Avinash.

“Ha! Pauper, my foot,” Nash joined in the rebuke.

“Not an astrologer. A financial literate,” said Eldrina with pride.

The confused look on Nash and Avinash’s faces made Eldrina laugh uncontrollably.

When she recovered, she asked rhetorically, “Do you think that when you start earning, you wouldn’t have any expenses?”

Avinash and Nash didn’t like to be rudely jolted from their pleasing dreams of the future, but they were curious. They had not thought of the expenses.

“Also, do you think that your starting salary would be so high to afford you expensive cars or houses or foreign trips?” Eldrina continued puncturing their dreams with her pragmatic speech.When she had their complete attention, Eldrina told her friends that to realize their future dreams, they must get their acts together now.

“Now? But we are still in college and have no earning,” said Nash incredulously.

“You have the greatest wealth in the world,” Eldrina said teasingly.

“Where?”

“What?”

The two boys exclaimed in surprise.

“Time,” said Eldrina with a serious face.

She knew she was going to be late for her next class, yet Eldrina stayed on to help her befuddled friends. “Okay, I will explain to you from the beginning.”

Eldrina explained to her two friends that to lead a grand lifestyle, they first need to accumulate wealth. And they can’t expect to attain wealth by spending on things they don’t need.

“The rich are financially disciplined. They don’t spend money, they invest it,” she said with passion.

She told the boys that they can start following a financially disciplined life by cutting down all unnecessary expenses on eating junk and buying expensive clothes and save a little from their pocket money each month.

“Come on, even if we save a little every month, we can’t possibly accumulate a lot of money in a few years,” said Avinash dejectedly.

“This is because you don’t know about the power of compounding in mutual funds,” said Eldrina smilingly.

“Dear friends, the famous proverb, ‘Time is money,’ is true after all,” she chuckled.

Eldrina explained to her friends that a mutual fund is a pool of money collected from thousands of investors. A qualified financial expert, or the Fund Manager, invests this pool into various shares, bonds, and other instruments.

“The good part is,” she said, “you can invest in mutual funds through SIPs or Systematic Investment Plans each month; as low as Rs 500!”

Eldrina told them that money invested in mutual funds earns a compounded rate of return. So, if invested regularly for a long period, say over ten years, the money invested in mutual funds can grow significantly and even if you stop investing then, the portfolio would still keep growing.

As the sun slipped down the horizon, Avinash and Nash basked in a revelation that would change their lives forever.

***********************************

The story doesn’t end here. Eldrina introduced her friends to her father, who was a famous financial consultant. He spoke to Avinash and Nash and penned down their financial goals, after which, he guided them to start SIPs in good plans.

Financial discipline, as Avinash and Nash realized, might not fulfill their bizarre dreams of buying Ferraris and grand mansions in the near future, but it will certainly help them attain financial freedom. The freedom to choose a profession they like, without worrying about pay cheques.

Which One Habit Can Make You Rich?

Bulb

It was a pleasant October morning complete with a fresh breeze and a clear blue sky. A perfect day for a ‘Class without the walls’ at the college.

As Professor Tracy looked at the young, chattering, squabbling college students taking the outdoor class as an opportunity to have fun, she shouted, “Who wants to listen to a masala story?” to get their attention.

Her question had the desired effect and the students settled down under the great Banyan tree. They all were keen to hear an exciting story.

“But, before I start, I want to ask you one question,” said Tracy with a hint of a smile on her lips, “What do you want to become after you pass out of college? What are your plans for the future?”

To her surprise, most students said that they are going to become rich and lead a luxurious lifestyle.

“Well, today, I am going to tell you the story of a boy, who, like you, was a student of mine a few years ago,” Professor Tracy continued, “And he, too, cherished the dream of leading a life full of luxuries.”

Professor Tracy narrated the story of Shawn; a bright, ebullient boy with a zest for life. Shawn was an above-average student with extraordinary charm. He had a confident personality and great communication skills, which won him several lead roles in various college events and activities. He compèred during the college fest and represented his college in debate and declamation events across the state.

As expected, Shawn bagged a lucrative job offer during the college placement drive and moved to a metropolitan city. During the college farewell party, Professor Tracy and a few other friends and teachers advised Shawn to gain some experience in his new job, and then take a break from work to attain higher education.

Although it was a great career advice, Shawn declared that he had no interest in going for further studies. His pay was good and he had all the intention to work harder and earn more.

True to his words, Shawn worked very hard at his new job and won a lot of appreciation from his seniors. He took up one challenging project after another, working relentlessly, collecting handsome allowances and bonuses that came with the projects. He was so obsessed with making as much money as possible that he even passed on a good opportunity to do an advanced degree program in management from a top global college, sponsored by his company.

He was clear in his mind that he wanted to become rich; to work hard and make more and more money … and live life to the fullest.

Yes, Shawn worked hard and party harder. He was delighted to be among the high-income professionals who lived in luxury. Only three years in his job, Shawn had already booked a swanky apartment in a rich suburb and drove an expensive SUV. He dined at the finest of the restaurants and wore designer clothes.

Shawn was happy to be living a rich and extravagant life.

Destiny, however, was weaving some other plans for Shawn. A sudden acquisition of the company resulted in major job cuts. Shawn, too, had to face the axe. In a flash, he was forced to deboard the fast train to fame, success and riches.

However, no one doubted that an executive of Shawn’s calibre would be on the job seekers’ list for long, but the reality was quite different. The looming recession made companies to stall their growth plans. The few companies that had vacancies matching Shawn’s skills, turned him down as they were looking for people with higher academic background. The fact that he was paying hefty mortgages and commuted in a fuel-guzzling SUV didn’t help his case either.

In less than a quarter of a year, Shawn faced terrible financial stress.

He knew that he would get a job sooner or later, but the pay would be half of what he earned earlier, and that would not be enough to support the lifestyle he was used to.

At 25, Shawn, dressed impeccably in an Armani suit and sitting in a top-line SUV, felt very poor. A rich poor.

*************************************************************

“What happened next?” one of the students excitedly asked Professor Tracy, bringing her back from the reverie.

It took her a moment to come back to the reality. She looked around and said, “Shawn learnt his lesson. It was long due.”

The mysterious smile on Professor Tracy made the students more curious and they pestered her to reveal what happened to Shawn.

*********************************************************************

Distraught and broken in spirit, Shawn visited his parents and told them his situation.

“I am sorry, Dad, you had many expectations from me. I failed you,” he said between sobs.

Shawn’s father consoled his only son and made him sit with him.

After a while, when Shawn gained his composure, his father told him that it was not his mistake that he got fired.

“But the way you lived was quite wrong,” he said in a soft, yet firm voice.

“But, Dad, I just wanted to live a rich life, and achieve all that you have achieved,” Shawn protested.

It was then that his father explained him that it was true that he owned a big house and a luxury car, however, these were just a few bi-products of the wealth that he had built.

“Son, you think that earning more and spending more is the true sign of being rich,” Shawn’s father explained, “But you are quite wrong in your thinking.”

As an incredulous Shawn looked on, his father added, “A rich person strives to earn more and save more.”

He asked Shawn, “How could you ever hope to become rich when you blow all your money on things that you want but not need?”

Over the couple of days that Shawn spent with his parents, his father told him stories from his younger days. How he worked hard and improved his earning over the years, while making sure that his savings increase in proportion to his earnings.

“I put my needs before wants, Son,” his dad said, “And I want you to adopt this habit at the earliest.”

Shawn could now see his mistakes. He always spent much more money than he needed to. He spent on food, travel, clothes and apparels several times over than it was necessary – just to see himself amidst the rich and wealthy. But little did he know that he was actually poorer than the poor with no savings to fall back on.

With his father’s help, Shawn met a financial mentor and showed him his assets and liabilities. The wise financial mentor helped Shawn in cutting his losses, plugging monetary leaks and set up a series of financial goals for him.

Shawn took up a job in his home state, lived in his family house, and disciplined himself on putting his needs before wants. Even though his salary was much lesser than his previous one, Shawn delightfully realized that his effective savings were quite handsome.

Under the guidance of his mentor, Shawn also started investing in mutual funds through SIPs (Systematic Investment Plans). His mentor told him that if he would have invested religiously while he was working, he would have been a millionaire by now – thanks to the power of compounding in mutual funds, the longer you stay invested, the more you earn.

Shawn is now gearing towards making a financially independent future. The way towards the real riches.

**********************************************************************

“Wow, that was a good story,” exclaimed one of the boys.

“I never thought of the consequences of choosing an extravagant life,” said another.

“We will not make the mistakes that Shawn made. We would like to save and invest and build wealth,” said a girl.

“Yes, you all can save and invest in SIPs, as low as Rs 500 per month. I will help you to start as early as possible,” Professor Tracy said with a smile before asking, “And do you know how I know Shawn’s story so well?”

As the class looked at her with anticipation, she smiled and said, “Because he is my son!”

Dr. Celso, a noted financial mentor in Goa, is on a mission to eradicate financial illiteracy among Goans, especially the youth of Goa. A respected dentist, inspiring speaker and a prolific writer (author of five much-loved books), Dr. Celso, along with his team at Nave Marg Financial Consultants work relentlessly towards making people of the sunshine state prosperous and financially independent. Dr. Celso can be reached at +91-9422058741

 

To Be Rich Or To Feel Rich?

gray and brown paisley chair near brown table

“Wow! So, our extended weekend plan is all sorted,” Simmi squealed in delight, “on Friday, we would go for the movies, followed by that pool-side party at Taj; on Saturday, shopping at the Mall, followed by a quick lunch at that new restaurant; and on Sunday, we will go for the brunch ….” She went on and on.

Sitting on the canteen table in her college, and surrounded by her gang of friends, Simmi was making exhaustive plans for the weekend. It seemed as if she was in a race to live life to the fullest in the least possible time.

Hailing from an upper-middle-class family, Simmi never really faced any scarcity in life. Her father worked at a senior managerial post in a big MNC, and her mother ran a successful boutique. Naturally, Simmi’s pocket money was quite handsome, and she spent all of it well before the end of the month. Although out of funds by the last week of the month, Simmi would still go on dinners and movies and road trips, as someone or the other would lend her the money. She was clearly spending way more than her means, and gradually, the amount of money she owed to her friends was swelling up.

Addicted to a spendthrift lifestyle, Simmi never felt that she was in financial trouble. Opposed to that, she always thought of herself as a rich girl.

‘And a lavish lifestyle is the right of a rich girl, isn’t it? She would muse.

But all this was to change when she met Tanvi, who was from the same college but a different stream. One of the professors, a member of the organising committee of the college fest, paired the two girls to conceptualise and organise a quiz event.

Tanvi and Simmi, though very different, got along pretty well. Both were intelligent and creative. However, as much as Simmi wanted, Tanvi would rarely join her and her friends in their regular movie or dining or shopping outings.

One day, Simmi insisted that Tanvi must join her for dinner in an expensive restaurant.

“I can’t go out with you guys, sorry,” Tanvi declined politely.

“You always bail out, dear. Come on; it would be fun. I enjoy your company,” Simmi was persistent.

“Thank you, dear, I, too, love hanging out with you and your friends, but this dinner outing would be too expensive. I can’t afford it,” Tanvi said smilingly.

“What!” Tanvi almost screamed in surprise, “Come on Tanvi, we all know that you come from a rich family. Although you never say this, we all know that you hail from one of the richest families of this city. You live in a palatial house in the most expensive locality, and you are dropped off to the college in a Merc!”

“That is all true, Simmi, but all this wealth is not mine, it is my parents’,” Tanvi replied humbly.

Simmi was still confused. She even thought that either Tanvi is a miser or she didn’t like her or her friends and is lying to avoid going out with them.

Suddenly, she was angry and blurted out what was going in her mind.

Tanvi patiently listened to her friend’s accusations and calmly responded, “I don’t blame you for thinking like this, Simmi. But none of it is true.”

Tanvi sat down with Simmi and explained to her that though her family is wealthy and there is a lot of money at her disposal to spend the way she wants, the financial discipline deeply ingrained in her since her childhood prevents her from spending on unnecessary things.

“My father comes from a long line of wealthy businessmen. How do you think they managed to safeguard their wealth and passed it on from generation to generation?” she asked a confused Simmi.

Tanvi further revealed that all the children in their family are taught the lesson of financial literacy from a young age. They are trained to differentiate between needs and wants and expenditures vs investments.

“We are taught how our money can earn more money for us at a faster rate,” she added.

“So, you mean that being rich doesn’t mean spending a lot of money?” a baffled Tanvi asked. The very foundation of her financial orientation was shaken.

“Of course not! How can you still be rich if you have squandered all your money on things you want, but don’t need,” exclaimed Tanvi.

“My friend, rich people don’t spend. They invest,” she summarised.

Simmi was now in a great turmoil. No one ever explained this secret to her. The revelation by Tanvi also made her think if she really was as rich as she thought? Probably not. Her parents earned a decent amount of money, but their living expenses were very high, too.

It didn’t take Tanvi long to admit that chronic illness or loss of business or job can put her family in great financial stress. They do not have any investments to fall back upon.

Tanvi sat quietly next to her friend, giving her the time to think and reach her own conclusions.

After a long while, Simmi spoke, “Tanvi, you opened my eyes. I spend like there’s no tomorrow; and to be honest, all these outings and shopping doesn’t really make me happy. I keep falling in recurring debts to support my lifestyle.”

“I know, friend, I have seen you happy ideating, forming plans and creating something,” Tanvi encouraged her friend.

Tanvi also shared that instead of spending money on more clothes and shoes and movies, she invested her money and time in more fruitful pursuits such as participating in the college events, signing up for exciting workshops and adding personal skills.

“You know what, I am sure my pocket money would be lower than yours, but still, I save a portion of it and invest in mutual funds through SIPs,” added Tanvi with a proud smile.

Simmi was impressed with Tanvi’s money management. However, she had no clue what mutual funds or SIPs were.

“Investing money in traditional instruments such as FDs and PF give far lesser returns than mutual funds,” explained Tanvi, “a mutual fund is a collection of small investments made by thousands of investors. This pool of money is further invested in the stock market by a qualified financial expert. Over time, riding on the ups and downs of the stock market, your investments grow significantly higher over a long period.

“You may make a lumpsum investment in mutual funds or invest through SIPs or Systematic Investment Plans, which are monthly instalments – starting from as low as Rs 500.”

Tanvi told her friend that she has been investing in mutual funds for a long time, and thanks to the power of compounding in mutual funds, before she turns 25, she would already be a millionaire – without her father’s assistance.

Hearing this, Simmi, too, was inspired to cut down her expenses, invest regularly and build a large corpus in coming years to taste financial independence.

The very next day, Tanvi introduced Simmi to her financial mentor, who helped Simmi figure out her life goals and set her on a path of regular investing …. and financial independence.

Dr Celso Fernandes and his team at Nave Marg Financial Consultants, are on a mission to spread financial literacy among the people of Goa. A popular speaker, financial mentor and author of four much-loved books, Dr Celso, is creating a positive impact on hundreds of lives by helping them attain financial independence.

How Important is Financial Literacy to Win All Life Battles?

photo-1522661067900-ab829854a57f

It was a pleasant morning. The sound of the light drizzle added to the beauty of the vast green expanse that greeted Sannah every morning as she sipped her first cup of tea, followed by another, albeit a hurried one on most days.

But, today was different…

Today, she was retiring from the institution she had built over the years with much love, dedication and discipline.

Today, she could steal a few extra moments from life and reminiscence about the things gone by…

***

It was years ago, when the grass was greener, the water was pure, and lifestyle diseases were unheard of. Yes, it was long ago, when Sannah was 21 and she had run home excitedly to inform her parents that she was going to teach English at the Arya Niketan School from the coming Monday.

At a time when parents waited for their daughters to touch 16 and bundle them off into marriage, Sannah’s father, Rakesh, a Chartered Accountant, had planned for a good education for his daughter – not only literally but also financially.

When Sannah had turned 10, he had already started teaching her small financial concepts at home. For helping her mom lay down the table, Rakesh would give her a small amount of money. Sannah could earn her pocket money and spend it as she liked after discussing her plan with Rakesh.

For the first few months, all she bought were chocolates and sweets, but then, one day, she needed a new pair of shoes. That day, her father taught her an important lesson – of distinguishing between needs and wants. If Sannah had not spent her money on the sweets she wanted she could have bought the shoes she needed!

Once she turned 16, Rakesh asked her to accompany him to a seminar at his office by a renowned financial expert who introduced Sannah to the magic of compounding and the world of SIPs. That evening, her father explained things to her in simple terms:

“Sannah, how do you like the money plant in our garden?”

“I love it, Dad. The best part is that Mom keeps plucking leaves from it to decorate the house but the green cover reappears all too soon, as if by magic.”

“Yes, Sannah, that’s wonderful, isn’t it? But would you believe me if I tell you about a real ‘money’ plant that I was able to grow with the help of the financial mentor we met today morning?”

“You mean money growing on trees, Dad?”

“Yes, Sannah. Money does grow on trees. All you need to do is water your sapling regularly with financial discipline to see it blooming over a period of time.”

“Tell me more, Dad.”

“Today morning, you learnt about the magic of compounding and SIPs or systematic investments into mutual funds. That is exactly how you grow your plant. By putting a small amount of money, say 500 rupees, each month into a well performing plan, you can build a huge corpus of money that will self-replenish even if you take out some funds periodically to meet your financial requirements.”

“Dad, can I invest a part of my pocket money into SIPs?”

“Yes, sure….”

By the time Sannah was in college, she was already investing a part of her pocket money to build a money pool that would fund her dreams in the future. And now that she had a job, she would increase her investments to make her money work even harder!

Life couldn’t get any better for Sannah. She had a job she loved, she had great savings, and now she was married to a great guy, too.

Unfortunately, things took a downturn when she lost her parents in an accident. In a series of mishaps over the next couple of years, her husband lost his textile factory to fire and the insurance claims were rejected, because the fire had been caused due to a natural calamity. Dejected, he turned to alcohol and started taking out his anger on Sannah who accepted all his insults in the hope of a better tomorrow that never came.

It was only a few years later that she gathered the courage to fight back and filed for divorce. Fortunately, she had her job as well as her investments to get her through the course of legal proceedings.

At 30, everything Sannah held dear in life had been destroyed. However, she still had the money plant she had planted with her father. One that she had watered regularly throughout those years. Yes, she still had her self-replenishing pool of money she had amassed by investing money regularly since she was 16 years old. And now, she was ready to use it to start a new life…

Sannah quit the school she was teaching at and joined an NGO. She began teaching illiterate women, many of whom had been abused by their husbands and families. Soon, she opened her own NGO where she not only provided a safe haven for these ladies but gave them basic education as well.

As she aimed to make every woman in India financially independent and self-reliant, she regularly held financial seminars through her NGO that were often graced by the financial mentor her father had introduced her to when she was 16.

With her consistent efforts towards the upliftment of women in the society, over a period of time, Sannah received a lot of recognition and her NGO flourished. A lot of women benefitted from her guidance and joined hands with her to create a pan-India counselling and rehabilitation network for helpless women.

Sannah never married again but she adopted a little girl who had grown up into a well-educated, responsible, kind-hearted yet determined lady, ready to take on the baton from her.

***

Sannah smiled and placed the empty cup of tea on the window sill. She could see a small money plant growing in a basket on a ledge. Her smile broadened as she was instantly transported to her childhood…those happy days with her parents when her mother planted several of those creepers throughout the house to usher good luck and prosperity.

 

 

IS FINANCIAL FREEDOM THE KEY TO HAPPINESS?

photo-1477896715183-91fd0e24f425

 

Lakshmi loved her home. A simple two-bedroom house where she led a modest but comfortable life with her family. Her husband was a retired government official with a decent pension. Their daughter, Nina, had recently joined college and her parents hoped she would soon find a good job, marry a winsome groom, and live happily after.

 

But Nina had different plans. Tall, fair, and blessed with a perfect figure and the most charming face, Nina had big dreams for her future. Having spent her life in a middle class family, where she was taught to prioritise needs over wants, that often amounted to a book needed in class over a gorgeous dress on her birthday, Nina was all set to break the shackles of money in her life. She was stunning and she knew it. And, with her confidence and looks, modelling offers were easy to come by.

 

So, while her parents urged Nina to complete her graduation and take up a job, Nina decided to drop out of college even before completing the first year to foray into the glitzy world of Mumbai. Despite her parents’ protests, she left the nest they had so lovingly created, and reached Mumbai to try her luck, like hundreds of others who regularly come to the city for a shot at fame.

 

The initial days were a struggle. But soon Nina was able to charm people with her looks and landed some modelling assignments. Slowly but surely, her dream started to get real. She began getting invited to swanky parties in Mumbai, rubbing shoulders with popular models and actors. She also started earning a good sum of money that she splurged on designer clothes, shoes and jewellery.

 

Nina had built the life of her dreams and there was so no space for middle class ideals taught to her by her family – needs before wants, save for a rainy day…. It was all malarkey.

 

Three year later, she got an offer to anchor a popular TV show. Soon, Nina was a superstar in her own right. People loved her on the tele but she wasn’t satisfied. She wanted to be a movie star ruling the hearts of every Indian. A couple of years later, she managed to get a lead role in a film but it didn’t go too well with the audience. Resolute, she bade farewell to her life on the small screen and devoted herself to Bollywood. Sadly, luck did not smile on her this time. At the young age of 25, Nina had failed. Her beauty was fading as was her fame. Her fortunes had dwindled a long time back. Broke and broken, she did not know whom to turn to when her mother requested her to return home.

 

Reluctantly, Nina returned to her hometown, Bareilly. People recognised her, and often asked for autographs that pained Nina even further. She had let everyone, including herself, down. At 25, she felt she was a burden on her parents. But that was not true…

 

Ever since Nina had started working, she regularly transferred some money to her mother each month on one or the other pretext. It was Nina’s way of ridding herself of the guilt of leaving her parents all alone. However, Lakshmi never spent this money.

 

Years ago, Lakshmi had met a wise financial advisor who had opened her eyes to the world of smart investments. Lakshmi did not work but she had learned how to make her money work for herself. She had learned that by investing small amounts of money, as low as Rs. 500, regularly into mutual funds through a systematic investment plan (SIP), it was possible to build a self-replenishing pool of money over time, thanks to the power of compounding and the cyclic nature of the market.

 

For the past seven years, Lakshmi had been investing every single penny sent by Nina into mutual funds through various SIPs recommended by her financial advisor. Today, she had built a large portfolio of money that Nina could use to start a new life.

 

As she shared this truth with Nina, her eyes welled with tears. Nina hugged her mom and placed her head in her lap. Lovingly, Lakshmi stroked her daughter’s head and told her:

 

“Sweetheart, do you know that the richest people in the world rose from abject poverty by being financially disciplined and making smart investments?”

 

“I am sorry, Mom.”

 

“Don’t be sorry, Nina, but learn from your mistakes. It is good to enjoy your wealth but it is equally important to save for the future!”

 

“I understand, Mom.”

 

“Now  get up and smile. It is time for a new start. Do you remember how much you loved cooking? Why don’t you start a cookery program on the small screen? I am sure you have enough contacts to kickstart the project and we have ample money to fund it. What do you think?”

 

“I would love that, Mom. But I need a promise.”

 

“What?”

 

“That you would co-host the show with me.”

 

***

 

At 8 pm, Sheena ran to switch on the tele. The family, like several other families across India, quickly gathered to watch their favourite show – Nina Cooks!

 

In two years, Nina and Lakshmi had become the much-loved co-hosts of the very popular cookery show that most Indians adored.

 

Meanwhile, Lakshmi arranged a meeting between her financial advisor and Nina. Impressed by the magic of compounding that makes small amounts swell into large sums of money over time, Nina started saving regularly.

 

She aims to be a crorepati before she turns 40 and is well on her way of achieving that dream.

 

Let the Ball Keep Rolling

football

The sky is overcast with the promise of impending rain. A large crowd is cheering, chanting and going berserk!

Brad neatly collects a long pass from the midfield and runs, dribbling the ball past three defenders, and GOAL!

His fifth in the season.

Brad runs to the stands and somersaults, just before his teammates jump on to him, screaming wildly and celebrating the decisive goal just minutes before the full-time.

Ryan is ecstatic too! He hops and skips like a ten-year-old, jubilant to see his son score.

At the same instance, the sky breaks open and a heavy downpour drenches the players and the spectators.

Later in the day, Ryan and Brad walk into their home, soaked and muddied.

“Mom, we did it again!” Brad proudly held up the trophy and showed it to her mother, Daisy, who ran to her son and hugged him.

“Let me put it with the others,” she said, taking the trophy. She cleaned it with a duster and placed it in a showcase filled with shining trophies and awards won by Brad in various football tournaments.

At 17, Brad was a soccer wonder in his district. A key forward player, he started playing for various local clubs when he was only 12 years old. The major credit for developing and honing Brad’s game went to his father, who had played a lot of football in his younger days.

“Keep working hard, sonny, and you will have your name listed in the national team,” said Ryan, ruffling his son’s hair lovingly.

“I will, Dad,” Brad flashed a bright smile.

Soon, the father-son duo got into a detailed discussion over the day’s game and areas where Brad could improve. Listening to the duo, Daisy couldn’t help but feel excited and worried at the same time.

She knew that both Ryan and Brad worked hard on Brad’s game. Putting so much energy and time in the game, Brad could hardly concentrate on his studies. Ryan, however, was unfazed by this.

“What good would it do if he ends up behind a desk, doing a routine job with all the fancy education he would get at the cost of his game?” he would argue with Daisy, “This boy is a gem of a player and will become a global football star soon, you would see.”

Daisy didn’t have a shadow of doubt in her son’s ability as a sportsperson par excellence; however, she had seen enough sporting dreams crushed, including her husband’s.

She just wanted that if the worst happened and Brad’s career didn’t take off, he must have something to fall back upon. Without good education, that wasn’t possible. Or so she thought.

Working as a manager in a starred hotel, one of Daisy’s responsibilities was to arrange for conferences and seminars conducted in the hotel. One such seminar on Financial Independence caught her attention one day.

The seminar was being conducted by a noted financial expert who had been working towards spreading financial literacy among the youth. She had heard about him, but couldn’t recall what exactly the expert did or what financial literacy meant.

Resolute to solve the mystery, Daisy stole herself to the conference room – and was soon absorbed in the presentations delivered by the expert. She decided to stay for the whole duration of the conference.

The expert spoke about attaining financial independence, about making your money work for you instead of you working for it, and, the best of all, growing your own money plant!

He displayed charts and tables that showed that people who invested in the stock market through mutual funds, earned a high double-digit growth rate over a period of ten years.

“No other asset class has given better results in the long term than the stock market. We fear the highs and lows of the Sensex, but the volatility in the market is the actual propeller of monetary growth,” he revealed. “If invested for a long time in the stock market through SIPs (Systematic Investment Plans) in mutual funds, your money would work day and night to make more money for you.”

Daisy had never thought it was possible to earn money without having to work for it.

Will my money earn more money for me? Still slightly confused, Daisy was eager to know how the teachings of the expert could make a positive impact on her life. On Brad’s life…

After the conference, she found an opportunity to speak to the financial expert and sought an appointment.

“I want to know how you can help my teenage son and me,” she said. Soon, a meeting was fixed. She also convinced Brad to join her on the appointed day.

At the expert’s office, Daisy shared her story; her fears and expectations about Brad’s financial prospects in the future.

The financial expert patiently listened to Daisy, making notes in his diary now and then. Once she finished telling her story, the expert said to her that in spite of their current limited means, Daisy and Ryan could ensure a financially independent future for Brad.

Giving a notepad and a pen to Daisy, he asked her to write down her household income and expenditure.

After studying the crude income/expenses statement drawn by Daisy, the expert pointed out areas where she and her husband could save money. Daisy was incredulous to find several trivial expenses that didn’t contribute anything towards her family’s well being.

Next, he inspired Daisy to always categorise her expenses as Needs or Wants. He also urged Brad to do the same.

“Remember, before you spend, you must invest,” he explained to Brad.

The financial expert shared that by investing as low as Rs 500 each month, the family could grow a massive corpus over the next ten or fifteen years. He asserted his claim by pulling out several portfolios on his smartphone, which have grown at a compounded rate of over 15%.

Surprised to know the power of compounding in mutual funds, Daisy quickly made a decision.

“Sir, I would want to start a monthly SIP of Rs 2,500 for Brad, and a Rs 5,000 SIP for our retirement,” she said happily.

Daisy knew that it would not be easy to set aside Rs 7,500 each month, but she was resolved to invest before spending – and deep inside she knew that she could manage to invest the committed sum.

Over dinner, Daisy told Ryan about the meeting and her resolve to invest. Initially, Ryan was a bit sceptical, but soon he too saw the wisdom in building wealth for the future.

The family is happy and confident about a bright future awaiting Brad. Whether the sporting field or a small business, the ball would always keep rolling for the young soccer star!

Dr Celso Fernandes is an author, speaker and financial mentor. His initiative towards spreading financial awareness among the people of Goa is bringing a positive change in the society. He can be reached at +91-9422058741 (email: navemarg@gmail.com).